Whether it’s the application, the screening phone call or the interview itself, the conversation will turn to salary at some point. Absolute care and careful thought must be given to this issue. You definitely want to be paid your worth, but at what point are you willing to negotiate? Tread carefully during the initial conversations on what you want to get paid.
What if the application asks for a salary?
It’s pretty much safe to say that all applications will ask for a salary. Leave the requested salary field blank unless the software won’t let you submit without an entry. You do run the risk of employers not considering your application without a salary, however, there is a greater risk that you will undermine yourself or price yourself right out of the position. If the field allows you to enter “negotiable”, try that instead.
What salary amount should you use? If you’re filling out the application at h home on a computer, stop and do a little bit of research first. Look up job websites to find out how much comparable jobs are paying, from entry level to top of the scale. Consider your education and experience when deciding upon a salary that fits your needs.
What salary are you currently making? Keep in mind if you’re applying for a similar job, potential employers may consider your current salary and offer a five to ten percent increase. If you are due for a raise in your current position, however, be sure to factor that into the salary discussion.
Applying for a government job? Keep in mind that the majority of government jobs use a pay scale band with a set entry level, mid-point and top of scale pay. Few will pay above mid-grade for a new hire, regardless of salary. In fact, most government agencies prefer to start at the entry level pay. If a position is internal to the organization, they also may have a set percentage for promotions. For example, a one grade promotion is a five percent increase with no negotiation.
If at all possible, turn the tables on the hiring manager. Ask what salary they are considering for the position. Keep in mind there may or may not be any wiggle room, or they may offer the lowest salary possible with the expectation there would be some upward negotiation. If the salary is lower than you expected, say so. Make sure you keep it professional. “State that you would feel comfortable with a range of ….”
The bottom line is that salary will never be a comfortable conversation for the applicant or the hiring manager. Handling the conversation in a professional manner when trying to negotiate a compromise is always best. Remember, however, that it is their job and they have full rights to pay what they want. With the right skills and experience, however, you can get the salary you deserve.